Take an earthquake or hurricane, homes are destroyed and the infrastructure is broken. No lights, no gas, no food deliveries. Transportation cannot move and services are disrupted. A person could be stuck in their home for several days to a week. Emergency hospital care would be limited. Food and supplies pour in from unaffected areas.
Let’s picture an "Invisible" disaster. Suppose the value of our currency fell to zero. Money became worthless. At this point, is there any reason for a grocery store to stay open? Would the employees work on faith? Would gas stations feel the need to sell gas for the old dollars? Would the truck transporting toilet paper from Georgia to Los Angeles feel obligated to deliver it, if he couldn’t buy diesel fuel in Kansas? The supply of necessities to a city would be a major problem. No cash, no product. Plus what would consumers use for currency to pay for it with, even if it was delivered?
In a real disaster, everyone is prevented from doing their job because of barriers created by the disaster. In a financial meltdown, it is a little different. Food and gasoline deliveries to major cities would stop. Why go to work, they can’t pay you. Since money would not buy anything, there would be looting. If you can’t buy it, steal it. The banks would be hit and your safety deposit box trashed. Figure that after two weeks of fires and looting, the National Guard would have a handle on it. There will be no fire department, police or ambulance service.
We take for granted the aspect of plastic credit cards and the concept of what is cash. An IOU is not cash. A credit card is a promise to pay. If the financial system collapses, it doesn’t matter how sincere your promise is to pay, it just won’t happen and it is no fault of the sincerity of the user. Of course this just can’t happen—can it?
With the collapse of the dollar, the government would have to print a new currency. Credit cards would be non functional. Banks would have title to assets like cars and homes, so not all depositors’ dollars would be lost. How fast the new currency could be deployed is a real question. Could people work at their present jobs without pay for two weeks? Without gasoline sales, most people couldn’t do it.
The only good thing about a currency collapse is that the nation debt would also be vaporized (If you are owed money, you get to cry). From there, it would be no big deal for the new government to hand out five thousand dollars to everyone to help kick start the economy and the country. The only trouble would be how to value this new currency. It would have to have a perceived value, otherwise how would one determine a fair price for a gallon of gas or a pack of smokes? At this point the government is going to have to pick a commodity or basket of commodities as a reference point of value. Gold and silver come to mind. Would the new dollar be worth an ounce of silver? Would your weekly paycheck equal an ounce of gold? [insert your guess here]
The thing not realized so far, is the fact that this whole discussion has been structured under the assumption that everything will be orderly. What happens if it is not? Social Security, all retirement benefits, and bank savings would be gone. A lot of people would be very upset to say the least! Bastille Day comes to mind for some odd reason. Would we still have a Democracy?
This article might seem like a lot of gloom and doom, but the scenario above, could be the reason Congress decided to spend a trillion dollars of nonexistent TARP money to keep the game going. What the hey, it's only paper money.
When you think about it, a financial collapse can be worse than any event ever thought up by mother nature, it doesn't do any physical damage. It doesn't try to kill you, but rather just ruin your retirement and that just might kill you or make you mad enough to [fill in the blank/blanks].
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